New South Wales players lost US$2.8m on pokies in H2

Paradise Ent aims to diversify by launching slot machines.
Paradise Ent aims to diversify by launching slot machines.

New data for the last six months of 2022 has been released by Liquor and Gaming NSW.

Australia.- Liquor and Gaming NSW has reported that gamblers lost AU$4.3bn (US$2.8m) to poker machines in the second half of 2022. That’s AU$820m more than before the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The report revealed a rise in gaming profits of 120 per cent year-on-year (Sydney was still in lockdown in H2 2021). The rise was logically due to the return of customers to pubs and clubs and machines being switched back on after being offline during the pandemic.

Fairfield, a suburb located in Sydney’s west, remains the local government area with the highest net profit for poker machines in clubs, generating AU$225m over the six-month period. Canterbury-Bankstown followed close behind with AU$204m, ahead of Cumberland at AU$133m.

The report showed that more than 220 new machines were installed in the six-month period, taking the state total to 86,872. Gaming machine net profits jumped 11 per cent year-on-year to AU$4.26bn. That’s a rise of 24 per cent from AU$3.44bn in the last six months of 2019. Pub profits increased by more than AU$400m and club profits by AU$300m.

Alex Greenwich, who has long been a vocal advocate for gambling reform, said the profits in the latest report showed change was needed.

“These super profits for clubs and pubs have come at a very cruel cost to families across NSW, and we also know have been fueled by the proceeds of crime and money laundering,” he told Guardian Australia. “It’s time to act, and I’m committed to working with the new government to curb the scourge of gambling harm in NSW.”

There has been a push for poker machine reform after last year’s New South Wales Crime Commission (NSWCC) report, which found that criminals were “funnelling billions of dollars of ‘dirty’ cash through poker machines” in pubs and clubs every year.

The state’s new government has pledged to reduce the feed-in limit for new machines to AU$500, ban external signage promoting gaming including “VIP lounge” signage, and reduce the number of machines across the state. The government has vowed to set up an independent panel of experts to oversee an expanded 12-month trial of cashless gaming before committing to an expanded rollout.

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